“On Sept. 30, Alberta’s government honours First Nations, Inuit and Métis survivors of residential schools, their families and communities. It is an important day to acknowledge and reflect on the history and ongoing legacy of residential schools, and to honour those children who did not make it home.

“On Sept. 29, I was honoured to attend the opening of the reconciliation garden Kihciy Maskikiy/Aakaakmotaani. In Cree and Blackfoot, these words mean ‘sacred medicine/save many people.’ A large stone sculpture titled Mother Earth Circling stands in the garden on the legislature grounds as a memorial to the victims and survivors of Canada’s residential school system.

“The memorial is Alberta’s response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action 82 to create a permanent memorial in the capital city to honour residential school survivors, their families and communities.

“I want to thank the Elders and Indigenous leaders whose insight and wisdom helped shape the memorial garden and monument. It is my hope that Kihciy Maskikiy/Aakaakmotaani will become a sacred place for learning and reflection that honours survivors, their loved ones and all those affected by the residential school experience.

“Each of us has a responsibility to move reconciliation forward. We do this by deepening our understanding of the harms experienced at residential schools and offering compassion to those still suffering from intergenerational trauma. Learning from Indigenous Peoples is at the heart of reconciliation.

“Alberta’s government is committed to reconciliation. We are working with and alongside Indigenous leaders and communities to build a better and more equitable future.

“Please take the time to reflect on the painful history of Canada’s residential school system and the steps we can take to make meaningful change. I encourage Albertans to support Indigenous-led orange shirt campaigns and attend one of the many local events taking place across the province.”